Talk of Iowa-logo

Talk of Iowa

436 Favorites

More Information


Ames, IA


Iowa PR


Talk of Iowa offers a mix of regular guests, newsmakers and interesting Iowans to talk about the arts, culture, humanities and lifestyle of our state.






2111 Grand Avenue, Suite 100 Des Moines, IA 50312 866 780 9100


Keeping Your Garden Lush During Drought Season

During the dry periods of summer, many gardeners across the state are unsure how to keep their gardens full of life during the lack of rainfall. Luckily, there are multiple flowers that can still thrive without much water, as Iowa Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Schrock explains. "There really are quite a few plants that don't need as much water as others. They are only going to need some water when you get them established at the beginning of the season," Schrock mentions. "For example,...

Duration: 00:49:12

Food Evolution

The Iowa State Fair is known worldwide as a showcase for all things food-related. This year, that includes a new documentary about a controversial topic: genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food Evolution was commissioned by the non-profit, International Food Technologists and it seeks to "follow the science" to get the truth about GMOs. The science led the filmmakers to produce something that comes down squarely in favor of what they say is a technique that's misunderstood and often...

Duration: 00:31:54

Among the Living and the Dead/Lou Henry Hoover and the First White House Catalog

This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks live with two Iowa writers, Inara Verzemnieks and Elizabeth Dinschel. Verzemnieks, who teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Iowa, has written a memoir that tells the story of war, exile and reconnection. The author grew up listening to her grandmother's stories about Latvia--the homeland and family she had to leave behind when she fled with her small children after World War II. After her grandmother's death, Verzemnieks decided to visit the...

Duration: 00:48:44

Are Cell Phones Contributing to Teen Depression?

There's been some new and alarming research about the increasing number of suicides and cases of depression among teens. Are cell phones and social media contributing to the problem? During this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with Jean Twenge, who is author of the forthcoming book IGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. "For the data around 2011/2012, I started to see some...

Duration: 00:49:14

Cracked Concrete in Your Driveway?

Is your sidewalk a hazard? Has your driveway seen better days? Cracks in concrete happen over time, and they're sometimes difficult to troubleshoot, especially if the problem is due to a tree root or uneven ground. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about concrete, asphalt and other paving solutions for your driveway, sidewalk, patio or paving project. McAnally says that it's important to think about how paving connects to...

Duration: 00:48:59

Lunch Lady Land

Susan Becker was having a tough time. Her mother had recently died. She started feeling like she had made wrong decisions. She wasn't motivated. She decided there needed to be a change. She got a job as a lunch lady in Bellevue in northeast Iowa, and she was managing a staff that was many years older than her. It was challenging, and ultimately it was enjoyable, meaningful, and sparked a renewed outlook on her life. "These ladies, what they considered their job...it was service with love."...

Duration: 00:49:24

Monarch Butterflies Staying in Iowa

The decline of Monarch butterfly populations over the past two decades has received much attention from scientists. However, recent surveys of the Monarch population in the Midwest have not been showing dramatic decreases. Monarch populations are thought to be tied to the disappearance of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs lay eggs. Iowa State University assistant professor in ecology, John Pleasants says Monarch populations in the Midwest may appear stable because counts are taken...

Duration: 00:49:29

Sixty Years of Seventy-Six Trombones

December of this year marks the 60th anniversary of the premiere of The Music Man on Broadway; it was written and composed by Mason City native Meredith Willson. In this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe explores what the musical says about Iowa and why the music and story have remained popular. First, we visit the Des Moines Community Playhouse, which has one last weekend of performances of their production of The Music Man . We hear from actors Brad Church and Katy Merriman who...

Duration: 00:49:14

Finding Bix: An Iowa Legend Whose Music Lives On

Bix Beiderbecke was a self-taught cornet player from Davenport, a white kid from the corn belt born in 1903. He only lived to be 28 years old, but against all odds his musical influence has lasted for generations. This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks to author Brendan Wolfe, who grew up in Beiderbecke's hometown. Wolfe's new book is called "Finding Bix: The Live and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend." (University of Iowa Press) Wolfe told us that he first heard Bix's music when he took part in a...

Duration: 00:49:22

Drugs, Clemency, and Freedom

In 2004, Mandy Martinson was addicted to methamphetamine. She helped her drug dealer boyfriend as a way to feed her habit, but when her home was raided and drugs were found she received a 15 year mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison. She received clemency last year and is now home rebuilding her life. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Martinson about her long road to freedom and recovery. "While I came across as this totally confident self-sufficient...

Duration: 00:49:22

Iowan "Miss Kittie" the Oldest Female BMX Cyclist in The US

Kittie Weston-Knauer is not your typical retiree. At the age of 67, she's the oldest female BMX athlete in the country. She started racing after her son got into BMX. When given the choice to sit around and do nothing or compete, she says she will always choose to race and will continue with the sport for as long as she can. "I have always been competitive," she laughs. "Look, I grew up with five brothers." During this Talk of Iowa interview, Weston-Knauer talks with host Charity Nebbe...

Duration: 00:17:39

Biking Across the Country with Shermer's Neck

Iowan Sarah Cooper recently finished one of the most grueling bike races in the country, Race Across America, placing 10th overall. She was the first woman to cross the finish line. If riding her bike 3,000 miles across the country wasn't hard enough, she did the second half of the race battling a condition called Shermer's Neck, which left her unable to hold her head up. "We had a headwind for the first 1,000 miles of the race. I really think that’s what stressed my upper body and brought...

Duration: 00:30:49

Can I Pick It? Garden Harvest Advice

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens. Tomatoes are relatively easy to check for ripeness, but other garden fare can be tough, especially with underground vegetables. For new potatoes, Steil says that you need to wait until the tops dieback. "Some of us are starting to see that already especially with the hot weather we've had this summer, but...

Duration: 00:49:24

Using Local Resources to Age in Place

Growing old brings challenges. Some of them are harder than others. "The hardest thing I had to adjust to was having my teeth in a glass of water next to my bed at night," laughs Evelyn Birkby, who is a nearly 98 and lives in her home in Sidney, Iowa. Birkby and her late husband Robert planned to age in their home, and they have done just that. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , she talks with host Charity Nebbe about their preparations, like building their home with a minimal number of...

Duration: 00:48:43

Co-Sleeping: Parents, Children and Musical Beds

Getting your baby or toddler to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges of parenting and for many parents, co-sleeping is the answer. The dangers of co-sleeping, however, have been well documented by the medical community. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with author and associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University Susan Stewart who has recently published a new book Co-sleeping: Parents, Children and Musical Beds. Christi Johnson, who co-sleeps...

Duration: 00:48:30

Making the Most Out of Your Farmers Market Visit

Rising in popularity over the years, a trip to the local farmers’ market has become a staple outing for summers in Iowa. If the “buy fresh, buy local” shopping experience interests you, there are some tips to ensure your visit is worth your while. Iowa State University Specialist in Value Added Agriculture Linda Naeve suggests bringing a cooler with a freezer pack in if you have a long distance to drive, bringing reusable grocery bags, and not bringing your dog unless it’s a service...

Duration: 00:48:25

Iowa Bats: Quality Habitat Essential in Fight against White Nose Syndrome

Bats are a fascinating and beneficial part of Iowa's eco-system, but they have a public relations problem; centuries of fictional villainy and bad publicity means that many people are still frightened and disgusted by them. In addition to their undeserved bad reputation, bats are also at risk because of environmental pressures, loss of habitat, and worst of all, a mysterious syndrome called white nose syndrome that has killed millions of bats. On this edition of Talk of Iowa , Charity...

Duration: 00:49:06

StoryCorps Highlights the Shared Human Experience

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected interviews with more than 400,000 Americans across the country. Now StoryCorps' mobile booth is coming to Iowa. On this edition of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with the founder of StoryCorps, David Isay, interview facilitator Emily Janssen, as well as Iowa Public Radio's Katherine Perkins, who reminisces about the stories collected the last time StoryCorps was in the state. She says that facilitating interviews and producing the stories that...

Duration: 00:49:09

Iowa Rivers: Vital Ecosystems in a "Sea of Agriculture"

Rivers are a vital part of Iowa's ecosystem. “Rivers in Iowa are the most important corridors of habitat, the ribbons of habitat, that we have left," says wildlife biologist Jim Pease. Over the past four summers Pease has paddled 1800 miles of Iowa rivers. On these trips he’s learned a lot about habitat, water quality, and human impact on the water ways. "We have drained 95 to 98 percent of the wetlands, we converted 99.9 percent of the prairies that were once here, even the woodlands are...

Duration: 00:48:11

Rodney's Kitchen in Waterloo Fosters Community with Kids Summer Lunch Program

Rodney’s Kitchen is a new restaurant in downtown Waterloo. It started as a catering business and small counter service, but the owner Rodney Lewis just opened at a new location downtown with a menu that mixes American grill, soul food and Mediterranean dishes. Like any other restaurant owner, Lewis is hoping to secure a loyal clientele with great food and great service, but he also has another mission. He’s giving away lunches to local kids who need them, because he says he knows what it’s...

Duration: 00:17:11

See More